STOCKHOLM — New Year's Eve was unusually quiet here. The typical bustle at liquor stores and supermarkets was slow to materialize. And instead of seeing their busiest night of the year, numerous bars shuttered their doors.
At the Time4Thai restaurant, one of dozens here that specialize in Thai menus and decor, a sign called on patrons to donate the money they planned to spend on food to the Red Cross.
Throughout Europe, and elsewhere in the world, many people were forgoing parties, canceling fireworks and toning down New Year's celebrations in deference to the millions of dead, injured, and homeless from the tsunami in southern Asia.
"Never has the step into a new year felt heavier," Swedish Premier Goran Persson said Friday. "We should have celebrated with fireworks and festivities. Now that feels completely wrong."
Swedes, who for years have flocked to Asian beaches for winter vacations, had special reason to remain subdued. Their nation has the highest number of confirmed dead, 59, of any European country. On Friday, Persson raised the number of missing Swedes from 2,500 to 3,559, also the highest for Europe.
The tragedy cast a long shadow across the continent.
In France, trees along the Champs-Elysees were draped in black mourning cloth. Across Italy, from Pisa to Naples, residents planned to observe a minute of silence or to replace fireworks with candles; the cities of Bologna and Turin canceled parties. In many countries, money for pyrotechnic shows is instead being donated to victims.
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra changed the repertoire of its famous New Year's Eve concert to reflect the somber mood, scrapping Johann Strauss' peppy Radetzky March, with which it traditionally closes the year. Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel planned to stay away in a sign of respect.
Near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, where a million people typically gather on New Year's Eve, flags were being flown at half-staff. Among European countries, Germany has the second-highest number of citizens missing, about 1,000.
Europeans suffered heavy casualties because of the large numbers in which they flee their dark winters to find respite in southern Asia.
In Rome, Italian authorities asked citizens to send a text message on their cellular phones to make donations instead of the usual celebrations.
"This cannot be a New Year's like other ones," said Mayor Walter Veltroni. "This will be a New Year's of solidarity."
In central Stockholm, nursing student Annica Lindgren planned to spend a quiet New Year's Eve at home with friends, instead of the usual bar-hopping that marks the evening for many Swedes. She is scheduled to leave next week for a backpacking trip in Thailand.
"I want to be able to relax and enjoy, but it's impossible to do that when you know that people have lost everything," she said.
She contemplated canceling her trip or perhaps going somewhere else, like eastern Africa.
Sonya Yee in The Times' Vienna Bureau and special correspondent Erik Esbjornsson in Stockholm contributed to this report.